A need for attention is something

This is a first for me, responding to a search that led a stranger to the blog with this question just about ten minutes ago:

How do I heal my desperate need for attention?

If you’re reading this my advice is to get some attention. Know that the desire for attention is a normal human need, which can’t be “healed” in the way I think you mean, with finality, but can only be “satisfied” until it comes back again. Think about hunger, and like that.

It is a sad thing to type the above into a computer search engine as if this was a shameful ailment that has to be quietly addressed via instrumental means. That says everything about the time we live in, and nothing about the normal human need for tending and recognition.

Thinking that your search for attention makes you a desperate gaping pit of need will make you seem that way to yourself and others. You don’t have to think about it this way, you can de-pathologize and re-humanize your need for attention, and find good teachers who will validate that sense of self.

Look at your environment, notice the emboldened who make a point of getting their attention wants filled, and do some of what they do; people on YOUR path are in the world around you. If possible ask them to pay some attention to you, if anyone is going to understand it’s the people actually getting what it is you want. That’s kind of a rule. As with all forward growth there is a catch-22 to deal with. To heal involves asking for the basic attentions we were denied as children, but if we knew how to go about this task we wouldn’t need to. The problem and its solution are inextricably linked this way. You will have to try things you don’t know how to do and won’t come easy at first.

“Will you talk to me? Will you listen to the poem I wrote?” If they say yes, do your thing and thank them for their time.

Your whole life can gradually become filled with giving and getting daily strokes but you have to put your self out there. If someone says they don’t have time for you, find someone who does, and copy these people who get what you want, push through the fears and do what they do. There’s no reason not to do this, nothing to do but quit listening to the thoughts stopping you. Everyone who gets what they need does it by ignoring the stopping thoughts. You can too. Experiment with your life, that’s what life is. Play around, take some risks, you’re not out of line, not wrong or sick, you are free, said Kafka, that is why you are lost.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Etiological ignorance, Humanistic psychology, Pharmageddon
16 comments on “A need for attention is something
  1. scratchy888 says:

    Good comment! And compassionate, too!

    • Stacy says:

      I was wondering about a person that has an unnatural need for attention. My husband’s ex-wife seems to have a dysfunctional need for attention. She doesn’t care whom the attention is from, she wants it from my husband, me, his family, everyone! She will use anyone and any tactic to get it. I think it’s really abnormal behavior and was just wondering if you had some insight.

  2. grizzledanold says:

    Attention is a great thing. We all exist. Shunning is a wretched and destroying thing. So is mocking and humiliation.
    We all need human connection, humane connection.

    Great, short, wonderful piece you’ve written, goes to the heart of it all.

    I add this poem I wrote for those abused, abandoned, overlooked, traumatized.

    Out of The Nightmare

    OUT of this tired and torn rubble that you deface
    A specter crosses through the soul that you embrace
    Rising like a luminous pit pulled then setback against some gray
    It is twice renowned to withstand decay
    Seeking only justice, seeking only first to be seen
    This is the nightmare of your dreams

    This past pronounced to not exist
    Now offers you vengeance as fairness of kiss
    Fairness will be the result of this NOUN
    SPEAK its name till it sinks in while rising from the ground
    Turn and face whomever was and is close, closest to this person
    Wash off the mud and graffiti, let the true color of skin be a lesson

  3. grizzledanold says:

    This is one of the most remarkable and transcendent pieces of writing I have ever read. It should be published.
    I’ll hand it out and read it to many Robin.

  4. poodles says:

    A beautiful (((Robin))-A beautiful price of writing-

  5. flawedplan says:

    Thanks guys, I really wanted to just come out and say START A ROCK BAND, but it’s not so good to be a prescriptivist. Poodle, I’ve been looking for you in the bloggysphere, The Memory Artist has a lovely therapeutic blog, why don’t you come join us sometime?

  6. Tomas says:

    Wow… that’s wow indeed. This is the best I have heard recently. I would like to translate your text into my native Lithuanian and to put it on a wall board of our art therapy club.

    But as the artist needs the answer to their questions, but not the applause I feel myself confused a bit.
    Why do we can hope for understanding just in hospitals for the people with psychiatric disorders?

    “Will you talk to me? Will you listen to the poem I wrote?” … my last post was Farewell … it was put on my blog yesterday, but I sense it was in a hurry – we have met. Can I call you my dear friend?

    Thank you

  7. Joel Sax says:

    This came out of the heart. And I am trying to tell myself that I can have what I want. Attention. Is it the same as love?

  8. flawedplan says:

    HellifIknow. Maybe a reasonable facsimile thereof.

  9. Mags says:

    I, too spent many years wanting attention, which, if not exactly love, was at least a way to verify that I existed. I didn’t realize until recently that, because of my childhood, I had no sense of personal identity whatsoever. I NEEDED people to acknowledge me so I’d know who I was. Now, although I still like attention- I’ll always be something of a ham- I don’t have the urgent need that I once had. When I finally started getting a sense of self, I felt like someone had handed me a new baby, and it was my job to take care of that baby. Since then, I’ve been my own baby, and I’ve been paying a LOT of attention to MYSELF. I wish you guys could see the sanctuary I’ve built for myself- my bedroom- never in my life have I done this before. It’s all done in seashore decoration with a net full of seashells hanging above my bed. I have all the things I love where I can see them- my angel collection- my rock collection- my CD’s and books. The room is totally me and my tribute to the real person I’m finding out I am. I wish everyone could learn that self-love really is a fulfilling thing. Not only is it not SELFISH- it allows one to give more to others, because it soothes a lot of neediness.

    And I totally agree with flawed- the way to get things you want is to put yourself in the places where those things are. I sat at home for many years waiting for the world to bring me what I needed.

  10. Butterfly says:

    Thank you for your advice. I have been giving to people my whole life – the oldest of seven children, wife for 23 years with 4 children, teacher. I want and like getting attention so now I feel like I have permission to go out and get some without feeling guilty!

  11. staceyface says:

    i would like some attention. please come look at my blog and comment. :)

    i really liked this article. I found it by googling “why do i need attention?”

    i felt bad that i wanted attention. i felt like there was something wrong with me. i have this idea that if i was “whole” I wouldn’t need attention.

    but i think maybe only if i was dead i would not need attention. but i am very much alive.

    thank you.

  12. Loved says:

    :) Thank you for your post. I thought there was something wrong with me for desiring some attention. Your post made me feel better

  13. Raven says:

    Thank you! This was extremely helpful and a powerfully nurturing.

  14. Melanie Musical Breeze says:

    When I can start seeing the obnoxious ways I had to get attention growing up because none of the good things I did got noticed, I realize some of those things have been brought into my adulthood and I am working hard to not get negative attention like that because it does not feel good. Not feeling good gets to be a way of life for me that I am trying hard to break with much therapy and some groups. I play keyboards and did much theater in school and that gave me such happiness because I had talent but more than that the attention was so positive. I always walked away feeling like a somebody. I still play music and love getting into it for the music’s sake now. The attention is secondary but it still makes my life feel wonderful when no attention is coming from anywhere else. I don’t get close to people so if I make a romantic tie it can get pretty draining from both ends making each other our only source of attention. That I don’t suggest. Keep other sources of attention and don’t drain another person because we all need our own attention too. I am learning to give myself attention right now and not give it all to a narcissistic partner. Boy I can pick them, and I am working on that too. I deserve my attention as much as the lovers I have lavished it on. I love that Dianna Ross song long ago…..Its my Turn. Smiles from Melanie

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